Cross Fit: Hitting the Motivation Plateau

Motivation Plateau

3 months in. That’ s 3 WODs a week for 12 weeks.. which means roughly a full work week of WODs and so many burpees and box jumps that I feel nauseous just thinking about it.
Its been great. Awesome. Life changing. Inspirational. Bad ass.

Can you tell I just finished my Crossfit workout? Endorphins rule!

But seriously, here’s the challenge I’m noticing lately. For the first time in my life, my motivation is plateauing and its getting harder and harder to get myself into the gym. And as a driven and focused person who works at home, but still manages to work 8-10 hours a day, motivation isn’t something I’m used to fighting for.

I bounce out of bed at 6am, sometimes even before the alarm goes off.
I’ve put on my sneakers most mornings since I was 23 years old
I’ve not drunk beer or eaten cake since 2007 (truthfully, the celiac disease helps)

 …and yet, these last few weeks as 5pm rolls around I started to question whether I had the energy, whether I had eaten enough, whether I was going to injure myself because I need to rest, whether I’d be better off doing some yoga or going for a run, whether the dog needs walking .. or…or….or…
It was excruciating and completely alien to me.

Of course once I’m there, I’m fine. I love the workout, the people, the atmosphere and best of all, that insane high post workout. I don’t quit. I don’t cheat. I load up the weight and keep pushing myself. But man.. its takes about an hour of wrestling to get me in the door lately, which made me start to wonder ‘why?’ Where is my self control? Whats up with this ‘Do I have to?’
Its not like I’m short of sleep, I eat great and I’m hardly killing myself at work. I really don’t have any legitimate reason other than. Nothing. Just a lack of motivation. WTF?

My first thought was that while I was making gains in strength, I realized that I’m not going to get ripped by doing 3 WODs a week. To get seriously fit I needed to reintroduce running and more endurance cardio, plus probably add a few more workouts. Yep, that’s the issue. So I decided to add back my old workouts on top of the Crossfit. You know, a few runs, a ride…nothing crazy. Just enough to see some changes in my body and get me motivated again. Hmmmmmm.

Day 1 of ‘run followed by CrossFit’ was a mess. I ran 4 miles then did zillion squat type things a few hours later. I think there may have been burpees.. I can’t recall, I think my brain fell out after about 10 minutes of the WOD. My walk up to the 3rd floor of my apartment building took about 15 minutes and at one point I think I used the dog as a sled.  I had to sit in a bath and massage my legs back into bending, or I think I’d still be stuck on the stairs. I legitimately don’t remember the next day – at. all. Except that I bailed on my workout. I assume I was in a coma. I may have worked.

Next I decided that maybe I’d bail on the extra cardio and just focus on increasing the number of Crossfit workouts I do a week instead. Great idea right? People work out every day all the time.  And I didn’t feel any pain at all when I registered for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Ok, so maybe I was a little overambitious, but I figured I’ve been at 3 times a week now for 2 months.. I can jump to 5. I’m fit.

Yes, I am fit. Fit enough for 3 workouts a week.

By Thursday I was on my knees and my workout was pathetic.. a fact I captured in my log book my writing my stats as ‘Shit’ with a time of ‘Shit’ and weight ‘Shit’. Which I don’t think was shorthand for PR. We were doing pull ups and at one point I remember thinking ‘hanging counts right? if I hang for a while that’s the same as a pull up?’ My burpee was more of a ‘lie face down on the floor like a jellyfish’. I bailing on my Friday, then my Saturday and I slunk into the gym the following Monday beaten down and cowed. Apparently I’m a 3 x week girl, or my head explodes.

Next I wondered if it was my diet. The Paleo diet is quite the thing for Crossfitters, along with knee socks and short shorts (thankfully, only the women).  Paleo means basically eating as though you’re a cave man. Which basically translates to ‘the most expensive proteins you can find at Whole Foods’ plus veggies. And after spending $100 on chicken and fish I sure felt like I was doing something.

I’ve never been on a ‘diet’. But since I’m celiac and don’t eat white bread or pasta or cake or anything vaguely tasty, I figured Paleo was just a small step from where I was already. And after reading all about Paleo, I cleaned out the fridge, stacked up my 96 eggs and lbs of chicken feeling very virtuous and set about waiting for the fat melting process to start. 

Which is when I decided I really needed a Nutella sandwich. In fact I didn’t want anything else in life as much as I wanted a Nutella sandwich. Or just the Nutella.

Paleo lasted less than 24 hours and I’m clearly never seeing those ‘guns’ as a result of diet.

Which left me right back where I started. Arguing with myself as to whether I really wanted to workout. I’m never going to have great arms, I’m never going to be rocking out 50 pull ups and I’m never going to find the workout easy…
Which is when it hit me.

WODs are never easy.

And they never get easier. The just suck slightly less.

And that’s why my motivation is plateauing. Because no matter how hard I work, how long I do this, the WODs stay hard. They don’t ever get easy. You lift more, you do more, you put in more effort .. because the workout makes you do that. Unlike running or riding, I’m never going to get to cruise through a workout… Cross Fit isn’t designed for cruising. And you don’t ease up… ever.
Which might be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face down. The fact that its not ever going to get easier. And I’m going to have to keep on coming.

Why? ..

Because it makes me feel strong. Because it makes me feel part of something. Because nothing has ever been so hard, EVER and nothing else in my life gives me that insane sense of achievement.

I always thought it would come from my career.

Turns out its burpees.
F-g burpees. 

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